Who is the American at the end of Stranger Things 3? Fans convinced Hopper is still alive

17 July 2019, 16:38 | Updated: 18 July 2019, 14:01

Stranger Things fans are convinced Hopper is still alive
Stranger Things fans are convinced Hopper is still alive. Picture: Netflix
Emma Clarke

By Emma Clarke

Stranger Things fans have a convincing theory about the American hostage referred to in the end credits scene. **WARNING: Season 3 spoilers ahead**

Stranger Things 3 dropped on Netflix on 4 July, to coincide with Independence Day in the US.

And while fans - who have, naturally, already devoured the new series - are here for the latest season, they have been left with a helluva lot of questions - primarily surrounding the fate of everyone's favourite anti-hero, Police Chief Hopper.

In a devastating conclusion, Joyce was forced to blow up the "evil" Russians' machine, which they used to re-open the gate to the Upside Down, utilising its force as a weapon. In doing so, Hopper, who was stood right next to the gate, was presumably killed by the impact, as were two random Russian soldiers.

Not wanting to believe that Hopper is really dead, fans are naturally clutching at any clue and easter egg they can to prove the police chief is still alive.

Despite the many fan theories that have surfaced on Reddit and every corner of the internet, none are quite as convincing as this conspiracy about the post-credits scene.

Who is the American prisoner in Stranger Things season 3?

After Eleven reads Hopper's heart-wrenching speech he never got to give to her and Mike (I'm not crying, you are), she packs her few possessions into the moving truck, preparing to start her new life with Joyce, Will and Jonathan.

Then, in a very Marvel-esque style, there's an end credits scene that teases what's to come in season 4.

In the post-credits clip, two Russian officers walk down a dingy corridor, with cells on one side.

One of the officers then reaches for a cell door, before the other says: "No, not the American."

"THE AMERICAN??" we hear you say?

Now, while we'd LOVE for it to be Hopper, there are a few theories about the American's identity, which include:


Technically, we didn't see Hopper die on screen (and thank goodness, because we'd be even more of a mess), so there's every chance the police chief is still very much alive. We're not quite sure how he would've escaped with his life - but stranger things have happened (sorry).


Ahead of Joyce turning the keys to destroy the machine and close the gate, Murray told her over the radio that he was surrounded by Russians. We did, however, then see him escape the lair with Joyce, after the US forces stormed the place. But it is possible they managed to capture him later, given he's seen an awful lot of evidence.

Dr Brenner

Again, a bit of a long shot, but Dr Brenner, aka Papa, could well be the prisoner the Russians were referring to. Since season 1, we've seen hide nor hair of him - apart from in El's visions in season 2. Could he still be alive? Could he be the hostage? We're not ruling it out.

In a heartbreaking scene, Hopper apparently died in order to save Joyce and the kids
In a heartbreaking scene, Hopper apparently died in order to save Joyce and the kids. Picture: Netflix

What other theories are there about Hopper's fate?


Some fans believe there was an easter egg in season 1 that hints at Hopper's fate. As spotted by Cosmo and Us Weekly, Peter Gabriel's cover of Bowie's iconic track 'Heroes' - which was first played in season 1 when Will Byers' fake body was dragged from the water - was repeated in season 3, as El read the emotional speech.

It could just be a coincidence, but as the show never repeats tracks, it does apparently hold a lot of significance. Could Hopper's death be fake?

Equally, standing next to Hopper at the end were two Russian officers - who turned into a gloopy mass once the gate imploded. Now, we may not have seen Hopper die, but the camera does pan to the spot where he was standing - and there was no such evidence his life ended in the same way.

Even more convincing is the season 4 easter egg that was teased in Murray's answer phone message. We get that not everyone would've tried this, but you can actually call the number Murray reads out in the show (618-625-8313). If you do, you will be met with the words:

"Hi, you have reached the residence of Murray Bauman. Mom, if this is you, please hang up and call me between the hours of 5 and 6pm as previously discussed, ok?If this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling, I have been trying to reach you. I have an update. It's about, well, it's probably best if we speak in person. It's not good or bad, but it's something." 

Again, this is just speculation, but it's possible Murray's message for Joyce is about Hopper's death.

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